Friedrich Arnold Brockhaus (1772-1823), German publisher, was born at Dortmund, on the 4th of May 1772. He was educated at the gymnasium of his native place, and from 1788 to 1793 served an apprenticeship in a mercantile house at Düsseldorf. He then devoted two years at Leipzig to the study of modern languages and literature, after which he set up at Dortmund an emporium for English goods. In 1801 he transferred this business to Arnheim, and in the following year to Amsterdam. In 1805, having given up his first line of trade, he began business as a publisher. Two journals projected by him were not allowed by the government to survive for any length of time, and in 1810 the complications in the affairs of Holland induced him to return homewards. In 1811 he settled at Altenburg. About three years previously he had purchased the copyright of the Konversations-Lexikon, started in 1796, and in 1810-1811 he completed the first edition of this celebrated work (14th ed. 1901-4). A second edition under his own editorship was begun in 1812, and was received with universal favour.
His business extended rapidly, and in 1818 Brockhaus removed to Leipzig, where he established a large printing-house. Among the more extensive of his many literary undertakings were the critical periodicals - Hermes, the Literarisches Konversationsblatt (afterwards the Blätter für literarische Unterhaltung), and the Zeitgenossen, and some large historical and bibliographical works, such as Raumer's Geschichte der Hohenstaufen, and Ebert's Allgemeines bibliographisches Lexikon. F.A. Brockhaus died at Leipzig on the 20th of August 1823. The business was carried on by his sons, Friedrich Brockhaus (1800-1865) who retired in 1850, and Heinrich Brockhaus (1804-1874), under whom it was considerably extended. The latter especially rendered great services to literature and science, which the university of Jena recognized by making him, in 1858, honorary doctor of philosophy. In the years 1842-1848, Heinrich Brockhaus was member of the Saxon second chamber, as representative for Leipzig, was made honorary citizen of that city in 1872, and died there on the 15th of November 1874.
See H. E. Brockhaus, Friedrich A. Brockhaus, sein Leben und Wirken nach Briefen und andern Aufzeichnungen (3 vols., Leipzig, 1872-1881); also by the same author, Die Firma F. A. Brockhaus von der Begrundung bis zum hundertjahrigen Jubilaum (1805-1905, Leipzig, 1905).
Another of Friedrich's sons, Hermann Brockhaus (1806-1877), German Orientalist, was born at Amsterdam on the 28th of January 1806. While his two brothers carried on the business he devoted himself to an academic career. He was appointed extraordinary professor in Jena in 1838, and in 1841 received a call in a similar capacity to Leipzig, where in 1848 he was made ordinary professor of ancient Semitic. He died at Leipzig on the 5th of January 1877. Brockhaus was an Oriental scholar in the old sense of the word, devoting his attention, not to one language only, but to acquiring a familiarity with the principal languages and literature of the East. He studied Hebrew, Arabic and Persian, and was able to lecture on Sanskrit, afterwards his specialty, Pali, Zend and even on Chinese. His most important work was the editio princeps of the Katha-sarit-sagara, "The Ocean of the Streams of Story," the large collection of Sanskrit stories made by Soma Deva in the 12th century. By this publication he gave the first impetus to a really scientific study of the origin and spreading of popular tales, and enabled Prof. Benfey and others to trace the great bulk of Eastern and Western stories to an Indian, and more especially to a Buddhistic source.
Among Prof. Brockhaus's other publications were his edition of the curious philosophical play Prabodhachandrodaya, "The Rise of the Moon of Intelligence," his critical edition of the "Songs of Hafiz," and his publication in Latin letters of the text of the "Zend-Avesta."